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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Sir or Madam,
I was walking back from the hospital when i saw a juvenile pigeon on the ground cowering in the corner of a building! I thought he may be injured so I approached it and it hopped away flapping its wings but could not fly. He made a real attempt to get away flapping his wings but just couldn't muster the strength to fly I think. Anyway, I put him in a box with some bread crumbs and my friend is watching him till I get away from work in about 5 hours. I called a couple of vet practices and the RSPCA who said to leave him outside because "juvenile pigeons live on the ground for 10 days prior to flying and if I just put him back he will fly away." The problem is that is is raining here terribly and is cold and the wind is howling and i can't just "put him back." Also, I am not sure if he is hurt. It seems logically, if it is true, that he is perhaps just living on the ground now only to fly away in a couple of days but I now don't know what to do.
Do I feed him? Heat him? Isolate him? Treat him as a pet? Put him back outside? I am a doctor working in the surgical unit so I have access to dropper and syringes which i am happy to use to try to feed him but do not want to ruin his chances of survival in the wild. Please, please advise me on what to do.
In summary, he is a juvenile pigeon I found cowering in the corner of a building in Scotland, UK in the pouring rain in the cold. He flaps his wings and try to get away (I didn't notice any hopping or injury but I can't say with confidence I really checked him over). What should I do? I do not have baby bird feed or anything, but I need to feed him and care for him if he needs it. Please help me, I am scheduled to pick him up in about 4-5 hours from my friends.
Thank you in advance.
 

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"juvenile pigeons live on the ground for 10 days prior to flying and if I just put him back he will fly away."
:mad: :mad: ...basically, whoever that person was you spoke to, he/she was instructing you to let her die painfully and miserably.....

Your instincts were correct. Thank you for saving her/him !

So far, so good. She is in a safe place, a warm place, a calm place with some food and water. A heating pad beneath a towel liner in the box will keep him warm. Go here, and give us an estimate as to how old you think he might be:

http://www.speedpigeon.com/baby_racing_pigeon.htm

Also, if you can, please post a picture.

The short answer to you post is: he/she can likely be re-released back into a feral life. If she was big enough to almost fly away, then she is likely going to remain feral and not too easily bond to humans.

So now the issue becomes, how did he end up in his predicament ? Did he fall out of the nest, or was he evicted by either pigeon or person ?

So, we have to check his condition.

1) Look him over, is there any sign of an attack ? Abrasions, blood, wounds, missing tail feathers ?

2) Does he seem alert or lethargic and sleepy ?

3) Gently pry open her beak. Is her mouth pink inside...or is it yellowish/white with splotches, mucous, or light-colored bumps ?

4) Does he seem to be breathing comfortably/consistently...or is he breathing in a laboured or irregular fashion ?

Could be simply a matter of just feeding him and giving some supportive care until he gets old enough and gets his strength up...in which case he can be re-released using a "soft release" method. The only issue there becomes, when to do it. If winter is going to be particularly nasty around your parts.

....or it could be he has an illness which may need some treatment.

There are a few feeding methods, none of which are overly difficult....but, again we have to figure how old he/she is to determine which would work best.

Thanks for saving her ! Please get back to us.

 

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I thought that the SPCA was more enlightened!

First, put it somewehere quiet . If it is in a cage, cover the cage, or most of it with a towel.

If you have a hot water bottle you can fill that and wrap it in a towel, so that it is warm and pplace the woodie on it. Otherwise an angled lamp with a 40W bulb can be used to warm it. Give it room to move away from the heat.

While it warms up, mix 1/2 pint water with 1/2 tablespoon glucose, or honey, or sugar and 1/2 teasponn of salt. Dip the woodie's beak in the warm water without covering the nostrils to encourage it to drink, then leave it for a while.

Can you look at this link of woodie photos and say which it most resembles?
http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/307673749CDqjnv

It is best not to feed it until tomorrow when you can defrost some peas and corn by leaving them in a cup of boiling water for about five minutes. While they are still warm, try popping one at a time into his beak. Usually this encourages them to eat them on their own. If it doesn't eat on its own, try to get 30 peas or corn kernels into him.

These are a few places in Scotland that might help, if none of them are suitable let us know. But please check each time what their policy to unreleasable wood pigeons is, a lot of places euthanase them in the belief that theyare wild birds and cannot adapt to captivity. This is not true (please check my wood pigeons album!)

Shanwell Wildlife Rescue Trust
Dundee
DD2 4XW

Telephone: 07849 184354

Cover Tayside and Fife. Will euthanase unreleasable birds.



The North East Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre
Nether Auquhadue
Ellon
Aberdeenshire
AB41 8UW

0796 225 3867

Aim to refuse no animal, bird or reptile, whether it be domestic or wild, but with limited land it has become impossible to take every animal we are requested to help. Try to find alternative accommodation if they cannot help, with other local organisations. Have a non destruct policy, unless the animal is beyond recovery and having taken consideration of veterinary advice.

Directions: Are approx. half way between Ellon and Auchnagatt, on the A948 Ellon to New Deer road. From Ellon - continue past the turning for Drumwhindle up over the hill, past the turnings for Dudwick, then the turning for Stuartfield. Staying on the A948 you will see the Centre signs on the right hand side.


http://www.thenewarc.org/1501.html

http://www.swrt.ik.com/

Valley Forge Native Wildlife Refuge
Tornaveen
Banchory
Aberdeenshire

Can provide rehabilitation, long term care or safe life-long sanctuary to native species that can't be returned to the wild (in our case this would mean wood pigeons), but not emergency veterinary treatment.
Contact via e-mail [email protected]
www.valleyforge.org.uk

Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Trust
Gateside
Beith
Strathclyde
Ayrshire
KA15 1HT

Telephone: 01505 502415
http://www.hessilhead.org.uk/

Georgie City Farm
Georgie Road
Edinburgh

This is a central working city farm,built on site of old railway goods yard,they have all usual farm animals,pet corner and are pigeon friendly,they recently have taken in a flock of unwanted white fantails and feral pigeons live on site and are free to come and go,all animals are cared for to high standard and the centre is maintained thrugh grants,legacies and donations by the public,they also have a rehoming service for animals and birds,there is a "wildwood"garden which is eco and biodiversity friendly and birds(including ferals and woodies)are free to live,nesting eqipt is left for birds and food is left on tables and troughs throughout farm,this is good for ferals

If you let us know more precisely where you are we might be able to find someone that can help.

If it looks as if its feathers are waterlogged then you can use a hair dryer at a low setting to dry him and warm him.
 

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Thank you for helping this bird, Anahita!
Basic steps to help baby pigeons are:
Step one, keep this baby warm, warm it gradually and make sure if you using heating pad that it is set to low and that baby can escape to cooler place.
Step two, fluids, once warm, baby needs hydrating so place warm (body temperature) water in deeper dish at least inch deep, and splash slightly water with your finger, for baby to get the idea. If it drinks alone, fine, if not; you may dip his beak in the water to get some taste of it. Be careful not to submerge nostrils, as inhaling water is dangerous.
Step tree - feeding. You can leave a dish with seeds near baby, but make sure that eats. Sometime young birds are too inexperienced to eat alone. They play with seeds but do not eat them. Best is to use thawed peas and corn, defrost them under hot water until slightly warm and take baby in your lap. Open his beak and pop one piece at the time in the mouth. Let him swallow. Repeat procedure with 40~50 pieces.
Baby needs feeding 2~3 times a day. Check that is pooping and that crop is empty before feeding it.
If baby struggles too much during the feeding, you can wrap it loosely in towel or something to keep him in place.
After feeding baby usually sleeps. Place newspapers or paper towels on the bottom of the box.
Please post some pictures of the baby and monitor his poops for diarrhea or other abnormalities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dear All, you are all such wonderful people! I am so glad that there are people who exist like you all in the world and I am SO GLAD I asked for your advice about this matter instead of leaving Britney (thats her name now :) outside! I will print this out and follow it exactly. Winter is quite bad around here and I will take care of her as long as need be. I intend to take her to the vet this weekend for a check up and if nothing is broken etc that needs mending I will just let me sit it out. Once I go home and examine her properly I will post again her approximate age and her current medical status. I always wanted to be a vet anyway :)
Thank you again
Anahita
 

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Hi Anahita,

Just a warning...whatever happend don't let the vet persuade you to have her euthanased. This happens so often with woodies, to my eternal regret this happened to me!

Please check with us before you make any long term decisions about her.
 

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hate to say this, but most young birds do come out of the nest before they can fly, i get loads of perfectly healthy fledglings every year that were basically bird napped from their parents, i had success reuniting them but of course you have to make sure they are in a safe place, and be sure the parents come back.
a good example is here in the town i live in by the ocean we have tons of herring gulls, and they nest on top of the buildings.

all summer long the babies are falling off the buildings, i have to say no the the ones that are in a relatively safe place away from the street, the parents still take care of them.
plus when they fledge they are walking around the streets for a while before they figure out they can fly if they are close to flying i have to leave them also.
if they are that close i would only handicap them more by taking them in, their parents are around and they will stay with them for a long time being taught where to find food and survive.,
i used to put the little fuzzies back on top of the buildings, i noticed that i was picking up what i thought were the same birds so i started to mark them and sure enough they were the same ones, so if i or someone else finds them on the ground in a bad spot i take them in.
alot are run over by cars all summer long, but i can only rehab about 40 a season and if i take everyone in i would have several hundred and i just don't have the resources or the room.
your little guy is in now and taking him back wouldn't be a good idea unless it was a safe area where you could watch from a distance for a couple of hours to see if the parents came back to feed him, but if he was by a building i'm asuming it's by the street and that will not be safe.
of course its better for the bird to be raised by it's parents but sometimes leaving them is just to risky, i think we handicap birds when we raise and release them to the wild, but it's better they are given the chance than to perish before they ever had the chance.
 

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"juvenile pigeons live on the ground for 10 days prior to flying ."
I would just like to make it clear that wood pigeons don't naturally leave the nest before they can fly, although they sometimes fall , in which case their parents will continue to look after them on the ground as they would look after them if they had "flown the nest". Sadly, the RSPCA believes in "letting nature take its course" which inevitably means death.

On the subject of woodies leaving the nest, this video by our member Paris captures a woodie leaving the nest for the first time. It is a beautiful compilation of photos, it will also show what a fledgeling wood pigeon looks like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tRP3o-tSMc

It is best if juvenile wood pigeons go to a sanctuary where they can mix with other wood pigeons and be released as a mini flock, that gives them their best chance of survival on release.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Britney

Thank you for all your comments and help group! I came home and made a small space for Britney. I mixed honey, water, and a pinch of salt and gaved her about 5-10 mls via syringe. She starting coughing at one point so I stopped thinking I may have put some water in her lungs. I put defrosted peas and oats along with her water bowl in her new space with some newspaper and made sure she was well heated. Based on the chart she is between 22-24 days old and rearing to fly away but just can't it seems! I checked her over and she just has a small laceration to her right wing but I think it may just be a superficial cut. She is able to fly just a bit and then quickly falls to the ground flapping her wings. Perhaps she needs a few more days with me before I let her try to fly away? What do you suggest? I think she is definitely around 23 days old so i am not sure what the "right time" is for her to actually fluy safely. Tomorrow I will feed her peas by putting them in her mouth.
Any more advice guys?
Thank you in advance!
Anahita
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
sorry I forgot to mention. The inside of her mouth is pink and she is not sleepy or lethargic at all! Quiet the opposite. she is so sweet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've sent an e-mail and left a message for valley forge the wildlife sanc. I will keep you posted.
Thanks again!
 

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Anahita...thanks for the update.

Here is a concern: the laceration you speak of.

It doesn't matter if it is healing over, or if it is small...if the baby was struck by some sort of predator, even the smallest of cuts/scratches can cause an infection which could overwhelm her.

From your description she sounds like she is doing OK, but really, as a precaution she should get some antibiotics started on her ASAP...certainly within the next 24-48 hrs. Sooner the better, do not let it go more than 48 hours. So that means either a vet visit by then, a trip to the sanctuary, or in the very least an over-counter antibiotic in this time frame.

We are all eagerly awaiting a photo-op of Britney !!!!:p

(BTW....given that wood pigeons don't leave the nest before they can fly.....and ferals certainly don't voluntarily leave the nest before they can fly.....I dunno what sort of columbids do.
I know some species of sparrows and such do actually fledge and then spend a lot of time on the ground while their parents still tend to them...but they are already flighted.
That was just bad and, quite honestly...evil...advice.)


 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dear Jaye,
I called the Nature valley sactuary today and they are kindly coming at 9:00pm tonight after my shift to take Britney to their park near the mountains. The caretaker said they never euthanise especially not for economical reasons and he was quite knowledgable about pigeons and was genuinely concerned.
Unfortunately I do not have a camera to take a pic or I would have certainly done so even for a copy for myself! :-(
I will keep you all posted on what the nature man says when he come by tonight. Presumable I can call for updates on her status while she stays in the rehab facility. As far as the antibiotics are concerned, I will call him back and ask if he can get some to her asap when he arrives. I do have some here on the ward but don't know what is acceptable to give a pigeon.
 

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They sound like nice people. Make certain that they know that you will want progress reports so that you both will know how to identify her from the others.

thinking I may have put some water in her lungs
Can you also mention this to the rescue people? If pigeons aspirate fluids (which happens very easily and very often) they can develop inhalation pneumonia, so she will need to be treated for that as a precaution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I definitely will mention it. I have made a little list of things for them to follow about her which includes this water issue, the antibiotics, the fact that she hasn't eaten etc.
 

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That's wonderful. Thank you for doing such a great job ! You have given that pigeon a great gift ! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hi all! Just an update. Last night at 9:00pm the ranger from the nature valley wildlife center came by and look over Britney. He took her away to her new life to be rehabilitated and hopefully she will be slow released by the end of next week. Apparently she was a juvenille wood pigeon :) and a little fighter! He promised me e-mail updates on her condition so I will post those and let you know when she finally flies away :)
Thank you again for all your help and support!
 

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That is great news! Thank you so much for ignoring the abominable advice you received from the RSPCA and the vet, and for finding the right place for the woodie.
 
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